Mississippi signs $29 million contract with Pearson

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, January 31, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Pearson has been awarded a $29 million contract by the Mississippi Department of Education to create and manage a new writing assessment program.

Under terms of the 10-year agreement, Pearson’s Educational Measurement group, which has offices in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Coralville, will work with Mississippi officials on the development and delivery of the program.

Pearson will provide customized writing assessments for 124,000 Mississippi students in grades 4, 7 an 10. It will use student results to help teacher development.

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Pearson has worked with the Mississippi Department of Education for a number of years, including a 10-year contract awarded in 2006 to manage the Mississippi Curriculum Test.

“Together, our goal is to deliver a testing program that will demonstrate how assessment results can be used to transform classroom instruction,” said Douglas Kubach, president and chief executive of Pearson Education Measurement group.

Cindy Simmons, a Mississippi Department of Education official, said the state hopes the assessment will lead to improved student writing skills.

“This innovative new … program is designed to evaluate the writing abilities of Mississippi students and to provide teachers opportunities … to target instructional strategies that will improve … students’ writing skills,” Simmons said.